Get in My Belly
It’s no secret that what we eat has an effect on all parts of our body and our health. And varicose veins are no exception. And while fad diets might come and go, one thing remains: we are what we eat. Of course genetics are a contributing factor to varicose veins — as is our level of activity — but with few exceptions, eating a diet that’s chock full of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and limited complex carbohydrates can help stave off health risks for years to come (or completely, if we’re lucky). Varicose veins are a medical condition resulting in poor circulation in the legs. As part of promoting overall health, we’ve identified some superfoods to help you reduce inflammation and increase circulation to help you look and feel your best.
Bring on the Antioxidants
There’s a reason you’ve seen and heard this word countless times in recent years. Antioxidants are natural or man-made substances that may delay or prevent certain types of cell damage. Antioxidants include vitamins E and C and carotenoids, like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. But you don’t need to worry about these scientific terms! You can find these in yummy foods like carrots and tomatoes, green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, peas and lettuce, and even in egg yolks. Have a sweet tooth? Berries are another great source of antioxidants. Some of our favorites include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, Goji berries and raspberries. And since berries are also packed with fiber, you can reduce your overall body’s inflammation — important for varicose vein sufferers — and help reduce your risk for heart attack and heart disease.
Get to the Root
Root vegetables are also known to have healing properties and, you guessed it, reduce inflammation. Both beetroot and ginger root are easily accessible in a variety of forms, making them simple to add to any diet. We love to add steamed beets to salads. But if you’re a little more adventurous, you can also drink beet juice, or add it to smoothies. And because beets contain tons of nitrates, they help improve blood flow and circulation — a huge win for varicose vein sufferers. Need more convincing? Beet juice has also been known to lower blood pressure.
Another problem many varicose vein sufferers have is trouble dissolving fibrin, a fibrous protein involved in the clotting of blood. People who can’t dissolve fibrin can end up with blocked blood vessels. This is where ginger becomes the hero (cue theme music!). Ginger helps to dissolve fibrin, thereby improving circulation. A staple in Eastern medicine for centuries, ginger can be drunk in tea (often as crystals), used as a spice in foods (powder or ground from the root) or eaten raw or pickled (like often served with sushi).
Love Us Some Legumes
Fiber will always be your friend when it comes to health. And legumes are packed with it. Not only does fiber help you feel full (excessive weight exacerbates strain on veins and arteries), it helps maintain healthy bowel function, which keeps things moving (literally!) throughout the body. We can’t get enough of legumes like chickpeas/garbanzo beans, kidney beans, peanuts, peas, lentils, lima beans...the list goes on. They’re also a great source of plant protein, easy to make and store, and a delicious addition to any diet.
Have you tried implementing any of these into your diet? We’d love to hear what some of your favorites are. And as always, if your varicose veins are becoming uncomfortable and limiting your quality of life, it’s always best to consult with an expert to ensure proper treatment. Find a Metro Vein Center near you and schedule a free consultation today.